Østberg happy to be back in the ERC

03 OSTBERG Mads (NOR) BARTH Patrik (SWE) Ford Fiesta R5 action during the 2017 European Rally Championship Rally Rzeszowski in Poland from August 4 to 6 - Photo Wilfried Marcon / DPPI

Norwegian star Mads Østberg said it’s “really nice to be back” in the FIA European Rally Championship as he prepares for his second appearance in the series on Rally Rzeszow.

Østberg is using the Polish asphalt counter to prepare for the world championship-counting Rallye Deutschland later this month. He was third fastest on Thursday’s Qualifying Stage and will start Friday’s first leg fifth on the road in his Adapta Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5, which is co-driven by Swede Patrik Barth.

“It’s really nice to be back in the ERC championship,” said Østberg. “I had my debut last year in Gran Canaria and had a really good experience with the championship, not only as a driver but the principle of the championship with really good PR, really good type of rallies. They are long and very professional but not as heavy and expensive as WRC. I really appreciate this and it’s really great to be back.

“Also I’m here now in Poland it’s because I like Poland so much. I was here three or four weeks ago for the World Rally Championship and it’s nice to be back. It’s a different rally, a different surface and a different co-driver but I really enjoy to be back here and I am looking forward to the race.”

Østberg was hampered by a rear differential issue in Free Practice, which prompted a replacement part to be fitted for the Qualifying Stage.